September 2, 2014

VW Tiguan R-Line Review

The Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line

The Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line

We review / road test the R-Line version of Volkswagen’s 2.0 litre TSI Tiguan, an aggressively styled version of the standard Tiguan SUV.

When VW called and asked us if we’d like a Tiguan R-Line for a few days to see what we thought, we had to ponder on which of us would test it. Unlike many ‘R’ VWs, the Tiguan isn’t endowed with more power. It doesn’t – for example – sport the nice meaty lump from the Golf R or even the mildest of power mods. Instead it relies on its sporty looks for its appeal.

So it seems as if VW are aiming the Tiguan R-Line at a younger crowd. The 20 & 30 something girl (or boy) about town. Or the Mum with kids who wants a 4×4 but not a behemoth. So we decided the review should be done by our youngest member of staff  Claire, who is just 22. The most unlikely candidate for a small SUV. If she liked it, VW are obviously doing something right.

Claire reviews the VW Tiguan R-Line

Claire reviews the VW Tiguan R-Line

Claire on the VW Tiguan R-Line

The Tiguan R-Line was released in the UK in October of this year, and at a starting price of £25,745 you expect to be impressed, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. With a 2.0 TSI 198bhp engine and VW’s 4MOTION four wheel drive  – and an aggressive but defined looking exterior – this car is definitely an eye catcher.

The sturdy structure of the R-Line sitting on 19” alloy wheels makes the car something of a beast to look at – not at all like the pretty drab standard Tiguan. But as soon as you get behind the wheel that all changes. The exterior ‘Butchness’ doesn’t quite match the ride – in a very good way I must add

Hitting 60 in 7.9 seconds it’s effortless to get there, sitting very comfortably at 90 on the motorway (easy to not realise you’re going that fast – fun though), it’s very nippy for a bigger car and it certainly doesn’t feel like you’re in a 4×4. The Tiguan is smooth riding and quiet, firm over poorer surfaces but perfectly acceptable. But when pushed it actually makes some quite nice noises. It also handles well in a very neutral way. It feels like a well sorted front wheel drive car, but it does a decent job over the rougher stuff too. And when driving around town doing everyday things it’s a very comfortable ride; it feels effortless to drive.

“…it’s very nippy for a bigger car and it certainly doesn’t feel like you’re in a 4×4. The Tiguan is smooth riding and quiet, firm over poorer surfaces but perfectly acceptable.”

VW’s thrown a few toys at the R-Line, including adding a tiny camera on the back of the car so when reversing you can see where you’re going on a screen in the centre of the dash. But it takes some getting used to. Its quite deceiving and you think you have more room than you actually do – it takes a bit of practice to get used to it.

They have also added an electrical handbrake and – never having used one of these before – I was nervous about trusting it to work. But it actually impressed me. You can pull away with it still on and it automatically takes it off, so no more clutch control and worrying about rolling back into people on hills – you can simply just drive away. It also has split climate control so you can have the temperature on each side of the car as different as you like. Comes in very handy for those couples out there who argue one’s cold and one’s hot. The Tiguan will save those arguments.

The interior is quite simple for the money you’re paying, but beautifully bolted together with some nice plastics. I was expecting leather interior and a bit more colour but VW has been very modest, leaving most of the ‘Statement’  to the exterior of the car. Start throwing the extras such as leather at the R-Line and you’re going to be pushing on £30k. Ouch.

The space in the boot was surprisingly small. However the back seats do move forward allowing extra room in the boot but still leaving enough leg room in the back for passengers to sit quite comfortably.

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